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Willow Creek council hears offer to buy Granum town office

A proposal has been made to buy the former Town of Granum office and turn it into an art studio.

At its Jan. 13 meeting MD of Willow Creek council heard a presentation from Sabina Wurz, who appeared as a delegation.

Wurz said she had done the numbers and research.

Wurz explained her proposal was the start of something bigger once the border re-opens.

Wurz wants to use the building as a residence and studio space for art students and offer classes from whoever wants to teach them.

Wurz envisions textile, pottery, drawing classes and much more.

“Anything that has to do with the arts,” Wurz said.

The students could be anyone in the world.

“Multimedia makes that very possible,” Wurz said.

However, with the COVID-19 restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, it would not be that big for at least two years.

Wurz even has a name for the building: TOGO or Town Of Granum Office Art School.

Initially, Wurz would have a residence and studio downstairs.

Wurz noted she is willing to take care of the building.

“I believe it’s worth saving,” Wurz said.

“When any business comes to a small hamlet such as Granum, I think that would be welcome,” Reeve Maryanne Sandberg said.

Coun. Glen Alm asked how Wurz came to be interested in the building.

Wurz responded she was on her way to Picture Butte, passed Granum, and thought she would take a look on her way back.

This was when she saw the potential for the space.

That night Wurz phoned Sandberg who put her in touch with administration.

“Each time I go in I like it even more,” Wurz said.

The estimated value of the property is $64,000, while Wurz estimates renovation costs at about $200,000.

The purchase price offered is a nominal sum of 50 per cent of the cost of subdivision and a required “party wall agreement.”

The estimated cost of subdivision and development of a “party wall agreement” is $5,000.

A “party wall agreement” addresses maintenance and deals with a shared wall. In this case, the MD of Willow Creek owns the property on both sides so achieving agreement should be no issue.

Chief administrative officer Derrick Krizsan said because the offer is less than the estimated value, it must be advertised.

“We have a lot of talented people all through the MD,” said Coun. John Kroetsch, whose subdivision includes Granum. “We sure welcome you and wish you success.”

Krizsan said council wrestled with a price because both renovation or demolition of the building would cost more.

Coun. Ian Sundquist said talk of tearing down an historically-significant building like this, “Makes me cry inside.”

“If someone can come up with a good use for it, I’m all for it,” Sundquist said.

“We haven’t had any other proposals come forward,” Krizsan said.

Krizsan recommended advertising then decide after the advertising period is complete.

Council then agreed to move ahead with advertising and discuss it at their meeting in February.

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